When God Says War Is Right: The Christian¬â„s Perspective on When and How to Fight


Darrell Cole

Central Theme
Under certain circumstances Christians have good reason and biblical authority for using force.

Jesus told his disciples to love their enemies, Paul told the Roman Christians never to return evil but to leave revenge to God. How then can Christians allow themselves to get involved with such a thing as warfare? Using biblical texts, Church Fathers and theologians throughout the ages Cole makes a reasoned case for just war. He argues that this has been the common belief to nearly all Christians at all times. He asks and answers the questions: What is the just war doctrine? How has it evolved over time? Why does the Christian tradition think it is important for Christians to get involved in warfare? When is a war just and how can it be fight justly? How does just war theory apply to terrorism?

Beliefs num
–Traditional Christian teaching holds that some wars are worthy of Christian support and participation.
–In these situations war is not a necessary evil for Christians, but is a positive good.
–The reasons for just war are rooted in the character of God.
–These reasons have been supported and refined by the early Church Fathers and other theologians throughout history.
–The early Christians were not pacifists.
–Human sin makes necessary the use of force.
–Christians use force because of justice, mercy and love.
–Just war leaders are virtuous.
–We do not do evil for good to come; we do not kill innocent people.
–A just war requires proper authority, a just cause, right intention, is the only way to ¢â‚¬Ëœright the wrong,’ and offers a reasonable hope of success.
–Some have narrowed this to focus on self-defense.
–The Christian at wear is deeply concerned with intention, noncombatant immunity and proportionality.
–Nuclear weapons pose an ethical challenge because their use, by definition, means the loss of life for non-combatants.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Do you agree that some wars are just?
–Why did Jesus tell us to turn the other cheek if he meant for us to engage in just war?
–How does just war theory apply to terrorists?

Provocative Quotes byline
–Traditional Christian teaching holds that some wars are worthy of Christian support and participation. Such wars are called ¢â‚¬Ëœjust’ whenever true governing authorities have both a just cause and rightful intent in taking violent action.
–War needs to be justified because going to war will lead inevitably to all kinds of human suffering.
–With help from the early Church Fathers and from Aquinas and Calvin, we’ve concluded that Christians have good reason for using force: It can bring a just peace.
–The comparative justice criterion asks us to weigh which side is ¢â‚¬Ëœsufficiently right’ in a proposed conflict. It assumes that each side is unjust, and we must figure out who is more unjust, and whether it’s worth the trouble for the less unjust side is right a wrong through war, especially considering that it isn’t very just itself. Comparative justice assumes that we can never be sure who is really just or whose side God is really on. We can’t know these things because no one is absolutely just.
==DC dismisses what he calls a bad criterion.
–Christians who adhere to their traditional just war doctrine cannot support the current U.S. deterrence policy, which threatens to kill millions of innocent people. Christians who follow Ambrose, Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin should choose rather to suffer at the hands of an enemy than intentionally kill innocent people.
==DC on nuclear weapons.
–Traditional just war doctrine refuses to defend any notion of doing evil for good to come. Killing innocent people can never be virtuous, can never be sanctifying, and can never bring one closer to God.

Posted in Books, Staublog in August 20, 2002 by | No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

40 − = 38

More from Staublog